Building a Diverse, Equitable, Accessible, and Inclusive Graduate Community: A Statement of Principles

    The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS), an association of nearly 500 universities that grant graduate
    degrees, recognizes that diversity, equity, access, and inclusion are critical to the excellence of graduate
    education.


    Supporting diversity and inclusion in graduate education is both an economic and a moral imperative.
    For a nation to prosper, drive innovation, ensure sustainability and maximize impact, its universities
    must draw from a broad pool of students with the ability, curiosity, and motivation to complete a
    graduate degree. In the United States, as in many countries, the progress we are making toward this
    goal is steady, but slow. In order to accelerate progress, universities, funding bodies, and policymakers
    must work together to develop policies and practices that help attract, retain, and support the success
    of all students, and especially those from populations historically underrepresented in graduate
    education.


    As we pursue this goal, it is important to recognize that opportunities to learn and work in diverse
    environments are essential to the preparation of all students. As countries and economies become
    increasingly connected, it is imperative that all students have an equitable opportunity to think,
    communicate, and collaborate both locally and globally. Given the compelling evidence that diverse
    teams produce better innovations and results,1 diverse communities will be best positioned to solve
    problems of local and global scope.


    Excellence depends on not only access, but the creation of communities that are inclusive – valuing
    difference and promoting a sense of belonging. Toward this end, graduate schools and graduate
    programs must clearly state their commitments to advancing diversity, equity, access, and inclusion,
    making it clear that these values support the achievement and engagement of all students. Graduate
    programs, graduate schools, and the universities of which they are a part must closely examine evidence
    of what is measured, valued, and rewarded. Along with funders of graduate education, they must also
    invest time and resources in better understanding the policies and practices that favor diversity and
    inclusion.


    By upholding these four broad principles—diversity, equity, access, and inclusion—all graduate
    students, as well as their programs, communities, and nations stand to benefit.

    1. Page, Scott. (2007). The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and
    Societies. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

     

    Statement of Principles initially adopted by the Membership of the Council of Graduate Schools on
    December 13, 1996, as updated and reaffirmed by the Executive Committee of the Council of Graduate
    Schools’ Board of Directors on June 23, 2003, March 24, 2009, and the Membership December 7, 2019.

     

     

    CGS is the leading source of information, data analysis, and trends in graduate education. Our benchmarking data help member institutions to assess performance in key areas, make informed decisions, and develop plans that are suited to their goals.
    CGS Best Practice initiatives address common challenges in graduate education by supporting institutional innovations and sharing effective practices with the graduate community. Our programs have provided millions of dollars of support for improvement and innovation projects at member institutions.
    As the national voice for graduate education, CGS serves as a resource on issues regarding graduate education, research, and scholarship. CGS collaborates with other national stakeholders to advance the graduate education community in the policy and advocacy arenas.  
    CGS is an authority on global trends in graduate education and a leader in the international graduate community. Our resources and meetings on global issues help members internationalize their campuses, develop sustainable collaborations, and prepare their students for a global future.